Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary for March 14, 2005
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SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY FOR MARCH 14, 2005
This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for March 14,
2005. Please note that Turkish press reports often contain
errors or exaggerations; AmConsulate Adana does not vouch for
the accuracy of the reports summarized here.
POLITICAL, SECURITY, HUMAN RIGHTS
EVRENSEL / CUMHURIYET / OZGUR GUNDEM: NGOs and
environmentalist groups held demonstrations in Istanbul, Ankara
and Tunceli to protest upcoming dam projects on the Munzur river
and a gold-mining project that reportedly will be using cyanide
to extract gold from ore in Ovacik district of Tunceli. Five
hundred protestors in Tunceli marched chanting the following
slogans: "Mining corporations, get out of Tunceli," "We won't
allow extracting of gold with cyanide".
TERCUMAN / TURKIYE / OZGUR GUNDEM / EVRENSEL: People in the
Karliova district of Bingol stayed outside all night in freezing
temperatures because of an earthquake (measuring 5.7 on the
Richter scale) that shook Bingol the day before. Although there
was no loss of life, a great deal of damage was done to homes.
At present, authorities are unable to get information from
fifteen villages that are cut off by snow. To date the Ministers
of Health, Interior and Public Works/Resettlement have paid
visits to the area.
OZGUR GUNDEM: The so-called "78'ers Initative" in Mersin
organized a meeting to demand that the fifteenth item of the
Turkish Constitution be abolished so that those who have
perpetrated coups in the past (i.e. military leaders) could be
prosecuted. (Note: The fifteenth article of the Constitution
allows for freedoms to be partially or entirely suspended during
times of martial law or state of emergency. In a separate note,
the 78'ers is a term referring to the generation that was
engaged in protest in the 1970's, many of whom were killed or
jailed during that decade. End note.)
EVRENSEL: Rabia Kurnaz, mother of Murat Kurnaz (23) -- who was
allegedly imprisoned in Guantanamo for 3.5 years -- expressed
her hope that her son might have been sent back to Turkey after
hearing rumors that the U.S. will be sending back Guantanamo
arrestees to their homelands. Kurnaz, who lives in Hamburg,
Germany, thinks her son may have been brought to Incirlik
Airbase in Turkey.
CUKUROVA'DA GERCEK: Prof. Alper Akinoglu, President of
Cukurova University, condemned statements made by Turkish author
Orhan Pamuk to a Swiss newspaper. Akinoglu stated that the
views of Orhan Pamuk, as expressed to a Swiss newspaper, on the
Armenian genocide allegations are baseless and inaccurate.
CUKUROVA'DA GERCEK: During the First Economic Cooperation
Forum, held on February 18 in Adana, PM Erdogan had Adana AKP MP
Omer Celik on one side and Aytac Durak, AKP Mayor of Adana, on
the other. Erdogan, stating that Adana has "two bosses"
(referring to Celik and Durak), added that his government would
"cut off the heads" of those who become involved in corruption,
"even if they are people we have appointed to office."
HURRIYET (CUKUROVA): Six thousand apartment buildings were
built after the 1998 earthquake in Adana to provide safer
shelter for the earthquake victims. However, seven blocks worth
of housing, comprising 70 flats, were left vacant and have been
looted and plundered since then. The headman of the district
complained that the vacant flats are now in wretched condition,
and burglars and inhalant addicts inhabit them now.
EKSPRES: The city council in Mardin has convened to discuss
the strategic plan for Mardin's local development. The Mayor of
Mardin presided over the meeting and representatives of various
NGOs participated in the event. The main point of interest
during the meeting was how to prepare Mardin for the upcoming
MILLI GAZETE: TOBB (Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity
Exchanges) is undertaking the task of modernizing the Habur
Border Gate by means of a Build-Operate-Transfer Project. The
physical and technical infrastructure of the Habur Border Gate
will be renovated and the gate's security will be strengthened.
The project will reportedly begin in April and will cost 18
trillion Turkish lira ($14,2 million).
1. BOLGE: The volume of transactions in Adana Commodity
Exchange has reached a record-breaking figure of
1,712,592,491,425,944 Turkish lira ($1,3 billion) in 2004. This
increase over 2003's figures is attributed to an abundance of
products and price increases since last year.